January 29, 2023

Actor Michael Shannon fumed at low production budgets when asked about the recent charges against Alec Baldwin in the death of rust Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Hutchins was killed in October 2021 after a prop cannon held by Baldwin fired a real bullet, injuring director Joel Souza before mortally wounding Hutchins.

It was announced last week that Baldwin and the film’s gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez-Reed would each be charged with involuntary manslaughter, while first assistant director David Halls has agreed to plead guilty to negligent use of a deadly weapon.

In conversation with The Chicago Tribune, Shannon spoke about the case in light of his directorial debut eric larue, which deals with the aftermath of a school shooting.

“In my experience, this is not a sloppy process. It’s very, very meticulous,” Shannon said of gun handling on film sets.

“But rust is an example of a problem I’m seeing more and more in filmmaking these days. With smaller productions, independent productions, producers always want more for less and less. They don’t want to give you enough money,” he said.

Michael Shannon (left) and Alec Baldwin (Getty Images)

Michael Shannon (left) and Alec Baldwin (Getty Images)

“They have ridiculously cut corners on every aspect. And they get away with it.”

Baldwin is among the six recognized producers rustwhich had a reported budget of just $7million (£5.65million).

“You’re cutting the budget down to the bare minimum,” Shannon continued, “but the one thing you can’t skimp on is your gunsmith. When you have guns in your film, there’s no room to cut corners.

Baldwin has blamed Gutierrez-Reed and Halls for the tragedy, while repeatedly denying any wrongdoing and claiming he was told the gun was “cold”.

Shannon explained that the actor and assistant director are usually shown by the armourer that the armory is empty before handing it over.

Halyna Hutchins (Getty Images)

Halyna Hutchins (Getty Images)

“With rustbefore that weapon went into his hand, [Baldwin] should have seen with my own eyes that there was nothing in it,” he said.

Still, Shannon doesn’t blame Baldwin for the incident. “You’re never satisfied with walking up to an actor and handing him the gun without showing him what’s inside. Never,” he said.

“I’m not judging Alec. I feel terrible for the guy. It’s a nightmare… But that’s what happens when you back down and cut corners and hire people who may not be qualified and pay them next to nothing and make the film cheap.”

In a statement released after filming wrapped, executive producer Allen Cheney defended the film’s producers: “The independent film’s six credited producers rustRyan Smith, Alec Baldwin, Nathan Klingher, Ryan Winterstern, Matt DelPiano and Anjul Nigam have a combined experience producing small to medium sized film and television projects for over 35 years.

rust is a union certified manufacturing company that enjoys a strong reputation with all major manufacturing unions and guilds including IATSE, Teamsters, SAG and DGA.”

The Independent has reached out to Cheney and his business partner Ryan Donnell Smith for further comment.

The indictments against Baldwin, Gutierrez-Reed and Halls are scheduled to be filed by the end of the month, said Mary Carmack-Altwies, the prosecutor for New Mexico’s First Circuit.

Eric Larue – starring Alexander Skarsgård and Judy Greer – is currently in post-production.

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